After a disappointing Game 1 the Colorado Avalanche were hoping to put forth a better effort in their second meeting of the series with the Seattle Kraken. While it took half the contest to see that effort the Avalanche overcame a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-2 win and even the series.
Unfortunately the team disconnect from the first game carried right on over to this contest. Seattle got on the board early again, at 2:40 to be exact, when Justin Schultz converted on a poorly played 2-on-1. Devon Toews let the puck get by him on the wall but had no support and it was an easy goal for the Kraken.
Despite receiving two power plays the Avalanche gave up a goal on their man advantage rather than scoring on it. Some more lazy puck play from the first unit and Brandon Tanev celebrated his shorthanded goal at 13:27 by blowing a kiss to the lucky guy who spent too much money to sit in the first row. The Avalanche got a few shots on their power play despite the miscue but weren’t able to generate much else and ended the first period in a 2-0 hole.
The Avalanche needed something to go their way to stop feeling sorry for themselves and at 6:42 into the second period it finally happened. Artturi Lehkonen showed up out of nowhere and found a rebound at the net front and the Avalanche were on the board. It took less than a minute later to get the equalizer. Val Nichushkin who hasn’t been able to handle the puck at all this series got a look on a breakaway and put a smooth banckhander past Philipp Grubauer. New ball game.
With newfound life the Avalanche kept the momentum going and after a good shift from the top line they finally found their first lead of the series when Devon Toews fired a loose puck past Grubauer at 12:59. Then it was time to hold on to the lead and Alexandar Georgiev was up to the task. After a rough first period he really locked it down and didn’t allow another goal making 27 saves en route to a 3-2 victory and tied the series with Seattle 1-1.
Surprisingly Darren Helm made his way back into the lineup and maybe he was rushed a bit to add some veteran presence in the bottom six. He played 8:15 and didn’t quite have his defensive timing back. He was near the bottom of team analytics and will be interesting to see how he’s utilized moving forward. Lars Eller took a tumble into the boards in the third period. While he didn’t leave the bench he didn’t play another shift, which is another injury case to monitor.
Evan Rodrigues might have played his best game in an Avalanche sweater. With only one assist probably won’t get many headlines but he factored in to all three Avalanche goals, delivered some big hit and ended up with some eye popping analytics including 84% Corsi For and 85% expected goals. His contributions are much needed if the Avalanche want to make it far this postseason.
After an absolutely terrible first period it was good to see the defending champs dig themselves out of the hole and put in a good enough performance to win this game and get back into the series. There will always be adversity in the playoffs but what remains to be seen is just how much this version of the Avalanche can overcome. They’ll need to play and especially start much better in Seattle to take this series.
The series shifts to Seattle for a 8 p.m. puck drop on Saturday night for a pivotal Game 3.